(effective February 2018)

According to OSU's Academic Regulations for "Special Examination for Credit" (AR 23, AR 24), students may request an examination to replace OSU's required course in WR 121. The exam allows for a waiver of the WR I requirement only, and not for a grade or for course credits.

This exam is intended for strongly proficient writers who have excelled in their academic writing skills and have clearly demonstrated their capacity for analytical writing, information literacy, rhetorical awareness, and academic genre conventions. The exam may not be taken in a term when a student is currently registered for WR 121. Typically, this exam is for transfer students whose previous coursework does not match the WR 121 equivalent. This is a rigorous exam that assumes college-level writing at an A or B level.

The WR 121 waiver exam has two parts: a sample of college writing and an on-demand written essay.



The writing sample consists of a polished college essay with a minimum of 7-10 pages of content (not including works cited). The essay should demonstrate that the student has met the outcomes for WR 121 in terms of critical thinking, information literacy, and skilled academic argumentation.  

The sample must come from an assignment in a college course. Successful essays typically have received a grade of an A or B in the course in which the paper was assigned. Students must indicate the name of the course, instructor's name, name of the institution, and date when the course was taken.



The on-demand written essay is a composition written within an hour's time in response to a reading provided and a question prompt. Students should be able to critically read and interpret a text and generate a sophisticated academic argument from that text, incorporating and documenting material correctly. (Note: Students registered with OSU's Disability Access Services may arrange for a longer exam time.)



The exam is evaluated by a consortium of trained writing instructors and is graded holistically to determine whether the student has clearly demonstrated skills in academic argument (detailed below). Students who successfully complete the waiver exam are strongly proficient writers who have excelled in their academic writing skills and have clearly demonstrated their capacity for analytical writing, information literacy, rhetorical awareness, and academic genre conventions. Below are the guidelines by which writing instructors evaluate the writing sample and the on-demand essay.


Critical Thinking

Successful essays include rhetorical analysis and critical thinking, and demonstrate the student’s ability to move beyond summary of sources and perspectives.

Information Literacy

The writing sample should demonstrate the student’s ability to locate, synthesize, and respond to multiple sources. Successful sample essays usually contain a minimum of three sources identified by the student. The on-demand portion should integrate, synthesize, and fully document quotations from the provided text.

Skilled Academic Argument

Successful essays will intervene in an ongoing cultural conversation or debate by proposing an original argument and supporting it with evidence and clear reasoning.



1. Locate the appropriate personnel to being the process:

Ecampus students should contact Joan Oakes for procedures.

Undergraduate students should contact Kristy Kelly before applying.

Graduate students should contact Kristy Kelly for case-by-case evaluation.

2. Download the form, "Examination for Credit or Waiver" from the OSU's registrar's office and fill out. The registrar’s fee is $80, charged to the student's account. (Note: Willamette Promise students taking the waiver exam are exempted from the fee.) If you have questions regarding this stage of the waiver exam process, please contact Kristin Benson, Associate Registrar.

3. Please obtain the form’s four required signatures:

4. Deliver the original of the signed form to the Office of the Registrar in the Kerr Administration Building.

5. Deliver a photocopy of the signed form to the Assistant Director of Writing, Kristy Kelly, Moreland 208.

6. E-mail Kristy Kelly to schedule the exam. The Assistant Director of Writing will assign an exam date/time/place. Signed forms must be received a minimum of a week in advance of the exam date.

7. The exam takes about two weeks to grade. The student will be notified by email upon having passed or not passed an exam. If the test score is passing, a passing test score is coded into your registration, so that you can then register for courses that require WR 121 as a prerequisite. WR 121 credits are not given for a waiver exam, and thus will not appear on a student's transcript.

Students who pass the waiver exam are considered to have met the Writing I requirement of Baccalaureate Core and are permitted to register for classes for which WR 121 is a prerequisite.